What Causes Sensitive Teeth and 4 Tips for Dealing With It

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Have Sensitive Teeth? Here’s What You Need to Know:

Sensitive teeth typically react badly to hot or cold food and beverages. They can send severe pain signals that flows throughout your body. In some cases, your teeth become sensitive to cold substances only. In other cases, your teeth become sensitive to heat, but not to cold. In other cases, you feel teeth sensitivity to hot and cold.

What Causes Sensitive Teeth

If you have sensitive teeth you could blame one of multiple causes. Among the common causes of sensitive teeth are the following items.

  • Lack of sufficient tooth enamel, lost by overly aggressive brushing.
  • Having your diet include too many acidic foods and/or beverages.
  • Leaky fillings, new cavities, and/or broken teeth that expose your tooth dentin (pulp).

4 Tips for What to Do When You Have Teeth Sensitive to Hot and Cold

According to dental insurer Delta Dental, originally a division of healthcare insurance entity, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, an estimated 45 million Americans endure teeth sensitivity at various times during their lives. This pain has some remedies you should know.

Among the things you can do to minimize the discomfort of sensitive teeth are the following action plans. You should –

1.) Change the brand of toothpaste you use

Some toothpaste, such as whitening varieties and specializing in tartar-control, actually increase tooth sensitivity. Why? They contain sodium pyrophosphate, which is too abrasive for your teeth. Try a toothpaste that’s made for those with sensitive teeth. You must use this toothpaste for the long-term as it typically takes at least one month for you to notice the decreased sensitivity your teeth feel when they contact hot or cold substances.

2.) Go easy on your teeth

Almost all dentists recommend using a soft-bristle toothbrush. You should avoid hard-bristle brushes, unless your dentist specifically recommends one, which your dentist probably will not. Even if you use a toothbrush with soft bristles, you should avoid brushing too aggressively. Brush “gently” please to avoid removing excessive enamel from your teeth. Your tooth enamel coating protects your teeth from painful sensitivity. If your toothbrush has “flat” bristles or becomes frayed (with bristles pointing in multiple directions), you’re brushing your teeth too vigorously.

3.) Don’t eat or drink only acidic foods, such as tomatoes and carbonated soda

Limit your acidic food intake, such as marinara sauce, oranges, and raw lemons, and only drink soda, when you don’t have access to fruit juice, milk, or water. Those who eat a diet filled with acidic foods, such as spaghetti sauce, or drinks a lot of soda, will probably experience periods of or even chronic teeth sensitivity.

4.) Visit your dentist to have him/her evaluate the seriousness of your sensitivity

If your teeth are sensitive to hot and cold for longer than three to five days, it is wise to visit your dentist so he/she can analyze your teeth sensitivity condition. If the diagnosis determines that you have sensitive teeth, which should continue, your dentist has multiple treatment options, including application of a “desensitizing” agent or a protective tooth coating.


There can be multiple causes of temporary teeth sensitivity. Longer-term sensitivity can result from eating too many acidic foods or drinking soda to an excess. Think about it. If cola can remove rust from a chrome auto bumper, what can it do to your tooth enamel?

We’ve given you some proven suggestions to minimize or eliminate tooth sensitivity, along with common causes (so you can avoid them). Sometimes air alone can react negatively with your teeth.

You should avoid the common causes or have your dentist apply non-invasive desensitizing treatments.

My name is Jeremy Rourke. I’m part of a family of dentists with my father, brother, cousin and nephew also being dentists. I won a University of Sydney Dental Alumni prize for being the top student in my year and graduated with Honours in 1971. I have been a Registered dentist for over 40 years. In that time I have created a few “firsts” in my efforts to stay ahead.

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